Players volunteer celebrates 50 years of success

By Heather Leigh - Reporter

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Her success is 50 years in the making. Anne Nimnicht has been volunteering for The Players Championship and the Greater Jacksonville Open since 1964.

Nimnicht said she started volunteering as a way to help out her mother-in-law. Her husband's family was in the car business and her mother-in-law was in charge of transportation. They donated the cars that staff and players used.

That first year was all it took for Nimnicht, who has been hooked ever since.

"I love golf. I played in high school," Nimnicht said. "My daddy and I used to love to sit together on Sunday afternoon and watch golf on TV, so it was my connection with him. It just became — the people I met — it was fun getting together like a high school reunion every year."

She's done just about everything when it comes to volunteering: parking, apparel, player registration and her favorite, being in charge of the walking scorer or markers.

But 1997 was by far the most shining moment for Nimnicht. That's because she was the first female to become a Tournament Chair. Since then, there has been only one other female to become tournament chair, Theresa Greene-Hazel in 1999.

Michele McManamon is on the path to be the third female Tournament Chair. Right now, McManamon is on the volunteer leadership team working her way up.

As for Nimnicht, all that hard work has paid off. She sits comfortably as the captain of the Red Coats, a group of prior tournament chairs.

"Nobody does anything for 50 years," Nimnicht said. "But it's something I love, and I look forward to many more years."

She said the tournament has come a long way since she started volunteering.

"50 years later the tournament has grown of course," Nimnicht said. "With Deane Beman bringing the tour to Jacksonville, it became a major event. There's so much more now involved in running it. There's so many more aspects that we didn't have in the Greater Jacksonville Open. It's been so much fun to watch it grow and see people develop."

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